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Should I feel guilty?

by kayopi kayopi (New) New Nurse

Hi all.

So I've been feeling very conflicted, confused, and guilty lately. I work full-time as a per diem nurse in a mid-sized city that happened to not be hit very hard by COVID (which is wonderful). However, because of this, the entire hospital system I work in is at half-capacity (d/t social distancing) and my company is no longer allowing me to schedule myself... which leaves me furloughed, for all intents and purposes. No idea when I'll be able to start work again. I haven't worked in a little over a month at this point, though I'm hoping it will pick up in late May/early June. Most of the hospitals in my city have also frozen all hiring processes.

Thankfully, with the savings I have, I can hold out for several months until things start to pick back up. I know this is a huge privilege that many don't have. But in the meantime, I am feeling guilty for not working (though if I hadn't been furloughed, I would absolutely be working right now). I have tried to keep busy bringing groceries to people, reaching out to people who might be feeling alone, participating in food drives, etc... but I still feel like, because I am not using my nursing skills, I am useless/a bad person.

I hear about nurses I know and many others heading to New York to help out, but I don't necessarily feel like that is something I need/want to/should do. I'm not scared to go, but, from what I've been reading, it seems like they have a surplus of out-of-state nurses pouring in, and the specialties they need are not ones I can work in. But I feel so guilty. Should I be heading out to one of the harder hit cities for several months to help out? Am I a terrible person if I choose not to go to the frontlines during a time like this, especially considering that I'm young and single? I just hate that my friends keep asking me if I've been working, and all I can tell them is no. I feel awful that my church sent me a thank-you card for being a healthcare professional... when I feel like I don't deserve the title right now.

Please help me work through this. I need any advice or helpful words you can give.

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 42 years experience.

You're not the only one to feel this.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

Don't feel guilty. As you stated, the needed specialties are not what you do. Your area may become active once things start opening up, and then you may become a necessity. Hang in there and be thankful that you have savings. Many didn't...

eggyweggy, MSN, RN

Has 8 years experience.

Just because your skills and area of expertise aren't needed now doesn't mean that you won't be needed in the future. If everyone rushed to the front lines at the same time, there would be nobody left to take care of patients who are being neglected while the focus is on Covid-19.